Monday, June 18, 2012

Among the Weeds and Wild Things

You would think that with all the hours spent at work weeding, I might not be so keen on wandering among the weeds and wild things in my free time, but you'd be wrong.

There's a patch at Floyd Bennett Field that I like to explore on my way into the community garden.  I call it the cement prairie because there are a lot of grasses and wildflowers growing there among  pavement, and this weekend it was awash in these delicate airy pink blooms. They turned out to be Dianthus armeria, a wildflower from overseas, a weed or naturalized plant here, like the wild alliums pictured at the top of the page doing that flowering/bulbil/topsetting/ propogating thing that they do.  
I didn't know Dianthus armeria's name until this weekend. This old airfield isn't just the site of my community garden. It's also my classroom and it is here that I have begun to know the names of local pollinators and the pioneering plants that are reclaiming and regenerating this place. But I could sing a new song about the value of Floyd Bennett Field and Gateway any given day of the week, so how about some words about the area from people other than me for a change?
“Over the last two years, we have reopened the crown of the Statue of Liberty, jump-started the landmark restoration of Ellis Island, and begun to bring the refuges and wetlands of the Harbor back to health,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. “With President Obama’s Great Outdoors Initiative, now is the time to build on the progress we’ve made and pursue a bold vision for the outdoor spaces and national parks in New York City, so that the city’s green spaces, waterways, and cultural landmarks are healthy, connected, and accessible to every child in school, every resident, and every visitor from around the globe.”
“Here in New York, we feel such a strong sense of pride for our parks, I want to thank Secretary Salazar and the rest of the Obama administration for their ongoing support of the city’s parks and other national jewels within the five boroughs,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “As part of the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, we look forward to working with the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service to enhance the largely undiscovered beauty of the Gateway National Recreation Area.”
-Ken Salazar and Mayor Bloomberg in a press release about America's Great Outdoors Initiative just last year.

Bloomberg is right about one thing I think. Here in New York, we do care about our parks and we know that industrial facilities do not belong in them. This gas metering and regulating station does not belong in Gateway National Recreation Area.


Jen said...

I love the way you find the wildness in the city and admire the way you are working to keep industry of those places. Beautiful pictures.

Sweetgum Thursday said...

I don't have to look to hard gardening where I do. Thanks very much. It's going to take a real grassroots movement to fight this project but thankfully there are people already moving to make it happen.

Ellen Zachos said...

I'm crazy about the bulbil/allium thing. It's such a madcap way to grow (think Al Sharpton's hairdo only tastier) and it amuses me greatly.

Sweetgum Thursday said...

Madcap. I like it. Just read about you and your container class on NYBGs blog!